Friday, December 30, 2011

What a Show!

This morning the deer were all having a party on Dewberry Lands.  The group consisted of three deer with spike size racks, a small eight pointer a big nine pointer and numerous does.  The does would just run around like crazy.  The big buck and the little one in the picture came up first, then two small bucks and the small eight pointer came down the hill.  The small deer with the big one met them coming down the hill.  He began pawing the ground, throwing leaves and the small eight ran up to him and they began fighting.  The eight knocked him out of the way.  By then the large buck quit eating and started walking over to the commotion. The eight decided he was going to stay at least 15 feet from him, then the chase was on.  The large buck pawed the ground at three different places and would hit the trees with his rack.  While this was going on one of the spikes pawed the ground then walked over to a four inch oak and started rubbing his antlers on that tree.  After the large buck chased all the does off he came back and finished his meal.  What a show!

Yesterday at another place on our property I took out a 130 pound doe.  On this tract of land we have too many does and we need to work on getting our numbers corrected.  I saw ten deer yesterday and one was a small buck.
I also shot at another coyote.  We have killed four and shot at two more and seen another.  They are bad news for the fawns but we are helping that situation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Backyard Visitor

This morning I had a grinning visitor that had fiddled around and got into the coyote trap I have set in the backyard.  We have coyotes that wake us up nearly every week howling in our front yard.  I have not set it yet for the coyotes but I have put it out to get the scent off of the trap and Mr. Opossum got in it.  
He was sure glad to be set free!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Forest Products

This weekend I used some forest products in non-conventional ways.  The first one was not as odd as the second one but it seems fewer and fewer people are using wood to heat their homes.  I cut down a red oak that was in a young pine stand to allow the pines to grow better in this area.  We use firewood as a supplement to heat our home in cold weather.  There is nothing warmer than a good fire burning in the fireplace to help you break the chill after coming in from hunting.

Next, I made mother some deer.  She had seen some that Nathan and Liz had received as a gift and said she wanted some.  So Friday I cut legs neck and head from small sweetgum trees on the property.  I was out of fuel for my saw so I had to wait till Saturday to finish cutting the rest of the deer.  I cut another larger sweetgum tree to use as the body of the deer.  I did some trimming on the deer to make them look more live-like and I added plastic eyes and a plastic nose to each deer. 

 The forest produces so much for us in our lives that we take for granted.  Just walk down the cereal isle in the grocery store and see how many paper boxes you see.  The forest provides a home to wildlife, clean air that we breathe and it helps keep our water clean, just to name a few.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Tuesday night I met with the Clay County Poultry and Egg Association.  They had a special speaker and sponsor for the meal.  I was there to talk to the speaker representing a company that I hope might locate in Clay County and provide some jobs for the local people and a place to sell some wood! How this will go I don't know but I do know if we do nothing, nothing will happen.

Yesterday, I had a meeting at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science Building at Auburn University.  The meeting was for the the Forestry, Wildlife & Natural Resources Extension Advisory Council.  We listen to the strategic plans for the School of Forestry and The Forestry, Wildlife & Natural Resources part of Extension.  I had lunch with Dr. James Shepard, Dean of the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences and the new Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Dr, Gary Lemme.  Dr. Lemme is from South Dakota and it was hilarious hearing him tell about his dogs after he moved to Auburn.  He said there were two trees on their property in South Dakota that his dogs used and when he turned them out at their new home in Alabama they ran into the woods then turned around and came back to him.  They didn't know what to do with so many trees.

When Dr. Lemme spoke he said something about extension I had never thought of.  He made the comment that money comes in for education(the university, research & extension) and education(extension) goes out to help the economy of our state.

After lunch we met in three small groups and then came back together to make a report and recommendations for the group.

I was the only landowner in the group that was not attached to the extension service, education or another group such as Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama Landowners Association, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or Alabama Forestry Commission.  It was a privileged for me to serve in such a capacity.

After the meeting I walked around waiting on Lisa to come back from shopping.  I thought about how that part of campus had changed since I was there.  Across the street was the old crop rotation plot that started in 1896, and next to it was the spot where we grew crops in Vegetable Crops Class, for the most part it looked the same.  I thought, while reminiscing about when I was a student at Auburn....."I am not a part of Auburn but Auburn is a part of me."  I thank GOD for that part of my journey through life.  
As the sun went down over Auburn last night!  WAR EAGLE!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farmers Federation Annual Meeting

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we were at the annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation.  It was one of the best annual meetings I have been to.  On Sunday night our Congressman, Mike Rogers, was presented the Service to Agriculture Award.  He saw us after the meeting and called us over, we got to congratulate him for his award.  He has always been a friend to Agriculture in Alabama.  
The program and the exhibitors at the meeting were top notch.  The business meeting was interesting with lots of debate. 
At the end of the business session Mr. Jerry Newby announced he would not seek re-election.  He has been president of the organization since I became a county board member.  He will be missed but that opened up the position and the competition has begun. 
The highlight of the meeting was Gov. Mike Huckabee speaking.  He did a great job!  One comment he made was if the rest of the Nation voted like the good people of Alabama, then Obama would not be our President today.  He talked about how we as a nation to remain strong had to be able to grow our own food, produce our own fuel and fight our own wars....So true!
Next year the Federation takes on another first since I have been involved, we will be meeting in Montgomery.  We will miss Mobile but that will cut down on our travel time.
On the way home we stopped in Montgomery at Nelson Paint and got paint needed for painting boundary lines and paint for marking timber to be thinned.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Come and gone for another year.  Weather was too hot up in the day to hunt but it was good early.  On Wednesday James and I went hunting.  He wanted to go.  As we sat in the Spaceship, a stand made from an old feed bin that Jay had made, James looked for deer.  It is a good stand for hunters that can't be real still, if you know what I mean.  We watched a hawk try to catch a bird, then it swept over and over the field looking for others.  We looked at all the mountains around us and part of that time we played with Legos.  James was seriously looking for deer.
At about 4:40 pm a deer came out at the edge of the field.  James said, "Shoot it" but I told him I had to look at it and when I did it was a young buck.  I told him that it was too small and it would grow and someday he might get to take it.  He got the binoculars and watched it until it left the field.
The next morning I took out one of our predators.  There were two and one got away from me.
I had to bring it home so James could see it.  He was impressed by it.  Selah liked seeing the blood.

 I enjoyed hunting with Nathan and Abby.  Russell, Doug and Pawpaw hunted about ever morning also.  Nathan saw several does and a six pointer.  We just could not see any big deer, that will come at the end of December and into January.
One morning we spent more time tearing out beaver dams than hunting.  It was so good being out in the woods with them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Week Of Meetings

This week has been a week of meetings, next week is going to be week of Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, here in Clay County we had our Farm City Week luncheon.  Our speaker was unable to attend so I put something together to share about the history of Thanksgiving.  There were several good comments about the presentation.  At the program we recognized and presented money to our poster and essay winners in the county.  The teachers of the winners also received financial awards to use in their classrooms.
The next day, Wednesday, I was in Montgomery at a Farm PAC meeting where we decided which candidates we would support in the March election.  We listened and questioned State School Board candidates, Civil Appeals Court Judges, and Alabama Supreme Court Judges.  We voted on those we were to support in the election including US Congress candidates.  Endorsements can be seen at  I did not get home until 9:30pm, long day.  On the way down about two miles from the ALFA building we did get to see a tornado form.  Rode down with David Farnsworth, Claude Friday from Talladega County, and Alton Jenkins from Clay County.
Today Lisa (Felicia) and I went to Prattville for a State Tree Farm Committee Meeting.  We met for business then got a tour of the Alabama Nature Center.  This is a great place that helps educate children and adults about what we take for granted.  They have school children there just about everyday.  They usually allow children to fish while there; it was told how many have never been fishing before, this broke my heart.
We were provided four-seated golf carts and rode fast through the park to see everything.  It was a fun day!

Tomorrow deer season starts.  Maybe we will have some good stories to tell this season!
(Below are some pictures from Alabama Nature Center.)

This is the home of the brother to the first two governors of Alabama, the Bibb brothers.  This is where we held our meeting and had lunch.  The house and the property for the Nature Center is now owned by the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

Some of the committee members at one of the ponds.

In the Cypress Swamp on the boardwalk.  It was not easy maneuvering these rides on these walks.

Committee friends, Dr.Salem and Dianne Saloom, former National Tree Farm Family winners from South Alabama, navigating the boardwalk. Notice the cart in front of us, it is being pushed.  This cart quit and we were laughing at those committee members having to push.

This was a boardwalk in the trees.  I want to do an observation stand on our property so visitors can get a feel to what it is like being up in the trees.  Mine will not be this large but it gave me some ideas.

Monday, November 7, 2011

This And That

Mountain Chestnut Oak Acorns
Scarlet Oak Acorns
The acorn crop this year is unbelievable. When you drive on the roads they crack under the tires and at times when you are walking in the woods they will crack under your feet.
Mattie, on her first day of working in the forest putting up tree stands with her Mom, Dad and Granddaddy. 
She loved riding the gator through the woods on the woods roads with Granddaddy, the weather was kinda cool.
We put this tripod up in a good location.  Now we have two more latter stands to put up soon. We have too many deer that are does on the property and wildlife biologist have told us we need to take some does off the property.  This takes skill and time to identify mature does, not to shoot small bucks.  
Jay got this one with his bow last Saturday evening.

Other pictures added to the tabs: Family, and Wildflowers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011



This week has been a week where we have pictures of large predators.  The fawns have done fairly well this time even with the pressure they have felt from the predators.  I am including a few pictures here but more can be seen under the wildlife tab.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Assorted Things

     On Tuesday of this week I attended a meeting at a friends place in Cleburne County.  He had an archaeologist from the NRCS visit him and talk about landowners and archaeological sites on a landowners property.  It was a very informative talk and demonstration on where to look for these sites.
     Today I have a Forestry Planning Committee meeting at 3:30 at the Forestry Commission Office but yesterday  I took my Dad to Sellwood Plantation to shoot skeet.  Matt Williams and his dad Jeff also went to shoot.  It was a cold windy day but we had fun.  We will be doing this again!
     Lots of deer are now being seen since the wind and rain have been knocking acorns off the trees.
Pawpaw shooting at a rabbit skeet.

Pawpaw looking for the skeet to fly out.

Shoot, shoot!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Last Monday we were in Montgomery and stayed over night and had a policy development meeting for the Alabama Farmers Federation but before we left home on Monday morning I took a picture that said " Fall is Here".  Do you know how many spiders live in the forest?  The dew shows all their webs.

Then on Thursday drove to Tuscaloosa for the State Treasure Forest Conference.  On Thursday night we had a board meeting, on Friday we had seminars on forest management, then on Saturday we had a tour on the McGiffert Property.  They have a high fence around about 1700 acres.  They said to keep things out.  There are three brothers that own the property and one is into quail hunting, releasing about 3500 quail a year.  Another brother is into duck hunting and they have a 7HP pump to flood the field they plant food for ducks.  The other brother is the deer hunting brother.  They only have Alabama deer in their fence that were native to the property.  They feed tons of high protein feed to the deer each year.  The brothers also have a big dove hunt each year where they have added some power lines for the doves and they do some turkey hunting on the property.  The brothers are engineers and do public water systems.  They had an interesting story to tell.
Tour about to began on the property.
Some of the deer in their camp house.
More deer.
This deer was found dead on the property.  It scored in the 180's.
This deer was an old deer that they had taken out, probably about eight years old.  The base was huge but it would have looked like a spike in the woods.  They had pictures of it and knew it need to be removed.  They said they had about 300 deer on their property.
They had rattle snakes too!
This was one of their mounts in the room.
You can learn so much from other people.  This is why we belong to forestry groups and spend money on these trips.  The people you meet are always nice and don't mind sharing what they do to improve their forestland.  
Let me know if you are interested in being a member of any of these groups and learn more about management of your property.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interesting Two Days

Yesterday and today has been an intresting day on Dewberry Lands.  There will be pictures we took yesterday added to wildlife and wildflower pages but I thought I would put a few here.  Go to the other tabs to see more pictures.  First is a picture of a grasshopper that is being attacked by yellowjackets.
Next is a picture of one of our hens with a beard.  She is not the only one, one of her little ones from last year, now has a beard also.  They were both out back but I only got a picture of the old hen.

Yesterday we saw some mushrooms that were over a foot tall.  I have never seen any like this.         (Pictured below)

Yesterday there was a fawn that came out and ran around in the woods putting on a show then it joined the doe.
Last picture happened this morning before we left for church.  It was a beautiful morning with the sun shining bright.  Seven hens came out and feed then eased back into the edge of the woods.  Then the five one and a half year old jakes came to feed and they saw the hens.  Their heads turned red and one started to strut.  This started something and all at once all five started to strut and it is September 25th.  This was an amazing site.  They strutted as they followed the hens off into the woods.  For more pictures click tabs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy day!

Day started at 5:00am this morning in Blount County.  Stopped and bought cool season vegetables before getting home.  Planted vegetables first after getting home then I worked on the bushhog putting new bearings in the tire.  Loaded the 4 Wheeler and seed and after lunch planted McCollum and most of Bowden Grove.  It was cool, cloudy, kind of dark over there and very quiet over there by myself in the woods.  I planted mostly crimson clover mixed with some ryegrass, wheat, and white clover (pictured below).  Need some rain now!  Saw no snakes today.
When I was about to unload the 4 Wheeler a doe walked out in the road where PawPaw and I saw one last week.  I started walking toward her and made picture.

As the doe ran her fawn walked out in the road and followed her.

Seed mixture.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another Timber Rattler

After bushhogging Thursday and getting two snakes we went back early Friday morning to finish everything except Skyview Road.  Matt was bushhogging at the tripod below cabin at the foot of the mountain and got another big timber rattler with the bushhog.  You had better wear snake boots or chaps over there this time of the year if you are going to be in the weeds.  This snake was about four and a half feet long.  Well, this is three less we will have at Bowden Grove.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011

Today was a bushhog day.  Matt had his tractor and that helped me so much.  We accomplished much but we will be back at it again in the morning.  Things are looking better and deer are everwhere!  Dad came over after we had left and he said he saw a small rack buck.  As I drove in this morning I saw 9 young turkeys, Matt saw a doe coming in, I saw a doe in the road while bushogging and I saw a fawn at the kudzu patch. 
I wish James could have been with me because he liked the snakes at the zoo this weekend.  He would have liked seeing the two we killed pictured below.
This was a 4 foot copperhead we killed in the bottoms out from the tree stand.  The bushhog got him.
This was a timber rattler, about 5 feet long, we also killed in the bottoms.  Matt got him with the bushhog.